Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"How do those with many blackheads wash their faces?"


What is the best way to wash your face if you have a lot of blackheads? I'm a 20 year old guy and I've always had trouble with my skin. Recently my more severe acne has cleared up, thanks to a really careful face cleaning regimen I use. But it seems like my washing might have made the blackheads worse by drying my skin. Help?


The right facial cleansing regimen for you is going to be a difficult balance between making sure you don't leave behind dirt and oils and not causing you skin harm in the process. It has been found that patients who wash their faces very frequently, or very vigorously, wind up damaging the epidermis (outer most layer of skin). This results in more extensive open comedone formation (black heads appearing) despite the skin being actually cleaner.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Dermatologists near you

This is because blackheads are actually not made of any dirt. They are made up of a poor that has filled and clogged with sebum, the natural facial oil. While washing your face is an important component of acne treatment, other medicines such as topical benzoyl peroxide must also be used to give you the best chance of clearing up. Only your doctor can determine which combination of treatment is best for you. I suggest you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or dermatologist who can better evaluated the current state of your acne and be able to determine if you are on optimal treatment for your stage. Too frequently patients are not being treated aggressively enough. If you haven't seen a dermatologist yet, you may want to just to get information on what other treatments are available for you. Good luck.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.